When I think of The University of Texas at Austin, images of football, Burnt Orange, and passionate fans come to mind. After this week, I’ll have another image in my mind whenever UT is mentioned: José Parlá’s gorgeous and inspiring mural, “Amistad América,” created for the newest building on campus.
José Parlá: “Amistad América”
Landmarks, the award-winning public art program at The University of Texas at Austin, commissioned a grand mural to enrich the new building on campus. This signature feature of Rowling Hall will be located at the entrance to Zlotnik Family Ballroom and will cover 4,000-square-feet. You will not be able to miss it when walking through.
The gorgeous mural, created by artist José Parlá, is called “Amistad América,” which translates to English as “Friendship America.” The name of the artwork commemorates the turbulent history of La Amistad, a nineteenth-century Spanish trading ship. In 1839, the ship’s slaves mutinied against their captors and re-established their freedom. The name is also meant to celebrate conciliation and optimism.
Parlá refers to his artwork as a palimpsest or diary, and uses paint strokes to record his impressions of places he visits. “Amistad América” is an entry into Parlá’s diary, showing us Austin through his eyes. He uses a palette of colors connected to each part of our vibrant city, pulling out Austin’s “vast skies, abundant nature, and pulsing urban core.”
“Amistad América” features abstract shapes that resemble the outlines of maps and borders between nations, an echo of Parlá’s interest in the history of migration. He says the calligraphic flourishes he incorporated into the painting “suggest our civilization’s continual struggle with migratory traces, trade, and cultural exchanges that harm the natural world and form a charged political climate.”
➡️ Keep reading: “6 Unbelievable Public Art Pieces at The University of Texas”
Attend the Free Public Unveiling
The University of Texas at Austin will host a free public unveiling of this massive mural on Jan. 26, 2018. Located in Robert B. Rowling Hall’s Zlotnik Family Ballroom, the event will feature a Q&A session with José Parlá at 5:30 p.m., with a public reception to follow.
Robert B. Rowling Hall, a 458,000-square-foot building at The University of Texas, just opened its doors this month. This multi-functional building is located off the corner of Guadalupe Street and East MLK Jr. Boulevard. Not only is it the new home for Texas McCombs MBA and Texas McCombs Master of Science in Technology Commercialization programs, but it’s also an extension of AT&T Hotel and Conference Center. In addition to housing modern and unique learning centers that create a new educational environment, the building will allow the university to increase convention and conference activities.
➡️ Keep reading: “Jumpstart Your Appropriately Weird Tour of Austin Public Art”
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite piece of public art on The University of Texas campus?